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Rinspeed shows the way to spiritual enlightenment. Image by Rinspeed.

Rinspeed shows the way to spiritual enlightenment
Mad Swiss design company, Rinspeed, will show the Buddha-inspired zaZen concept car in Geneva.
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2006-02-22: 2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept image gallery

The Geneva Motor Show in March sees a number of exciting concept cars on show for the first time, one being the "zaZen" from Rinspeed. The Swiss design company and Bayer Material Science (one of the world's largest plastics producers) showcase a new sports car that uses a single piece transparent teardrop roof design. The lid brings in-cabin visibility only rivalled by convertibles and a real sense of space and freedom without the prospect of getting your hair wet.

The technology demonstrator, named the zaZen thanks to its Buddhist design philosophy, incorporates some state of the art features. On offer is a transparency that can be turned on and off at a touch of a button, which is good news for the security conscience out there, bad news for car thieves. A holographic rear light can also be beamed on the rear screen when the anchors are hit. And this, says Rinspeed's top man Frank M Rinderknecht, is the first step to Automotive Enlightenment! Was this car designed in Switzerland or a temple in Nepal?! Joking aside, Frank is using the Buddhist marketing angle not to reach out to an untapped market sector but as a vehicle (no pun intended) to get his point across. What is his point you may be asking? ZaZen is derived from Buddhist teaching and means a special form of insight that is only attainable if you are prepared to give up preconceived ideas. Rinspeed hopes this strikes a chord with product development directors throughout the industry.

So, that is the theory behind the project but, The Car Enthusiast likes the curves that the zaZen's clear one-piece roof can create. Borrowing styling cues from both European and American sports coupes, the front end looking very Porsche-esque and the rear end is reminiscent of the Dodge Viper. The result is an elegant design with crisp lines from front to rear.

Clear roofs have been around for a long time; tuning companies such as AMG have been using them on Mercedes but it is novel that a structural roof can be fashioned from plastic. This shouldn't be a convertible with a plastic cover made from recycled cola bottles though, as Bayer Material Science has developed the roof from high tech plastics. Boffins at the European firm have developed Polycarbonate Makrolon to offer a level of structural rigidity and transparency to rival glass and steel. It would be interesting to see torsional rigidity figures and how they compare to more conventional construction methods.

There are no plans to produce the zaZen but if you are looking for a car to get you to Nirvana down the Buddhist Trail then this could be right up your street. Just don't get a stone chip on the way because Autoglass probably won't have one of these in stock...

Paul Wilkinson - 16 Jan 2006


2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.

2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Mark Sims.








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2006 Rinspeed zaZen concept car. Image by Rinspeed.
 

 
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